It rained for days on end in Hanoi. This was not monsoon rain, whose passionate downpour turns to steam. Hanoi rain is Dublin rain, a constant, dispiriting drizzle. You could film The Commitments under these gray skies. Everyone hunches under rain capes and umbrellas. My hands and feet are cold from the effort of evaporating dampness, even though the temperature isn’t especially low.
At first I was pleased. I am still Irish enough to believe I have to ‘make use’ of a fine day. Finally, after six months, I have rainy days to waste. I have a hotel room with satellite TV, an incredible luxury. I lie on the bed eating Ritter Sport chocolate, drinking beer, wearing a fleece. I am taking a holiday from my holiday. I am very happy.
On Star Movies, I watch a dreadful John Turturro movie, then Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues, then a cringing Liz Hurley vehicle with Denis Leary as an unhappy New York cop. Six straight hours of straight-to-video Brooklyn street scenes. The rain drips outside and I watch Fort Greene and Bed-Stuy, DUMBO and Bensonhurst. I wonder how to get the kind of apartment Denzel Washington’s jazz musician has. I squawk when the Brooklyn Academy of Music shows up, and when Denzel bikes in Prospect Park. I squint trying to recognize Frank’s Lounge, or Five Spot, in Fort Greene.
Still Hanoi drips like a runny nose. I had set myself the task of working on an application essay for teacher training college in Ireland. But given a practice run of a few days living in Ireland’s weather again, I find that all I want to do is huddle in sloth. Which, come to think of it, is pretty much what I did there first time around. Hmm.